A stark truth: Israeli arms, U.S. dollars

By Glenn Greenwald

One does not normally see this truth stated so starkly in places like Time Magazine — from Michael Scherer’s interesting article on AIPAC’s current strategy to "storm Congress":

The
third "ask" that AIPAC supporters will make of Congress on Tuesday is
to once again pass the $3 billion in U.S. aid provided annually to
Israel. "It’s a very tough ask this year," [AIPAC lobbyist Steve]
Aserkoff admitted, noting the U.S. domestic budgetary and economic
challenges. Among other major purchases, the Israeli government has
announced plans to replace its aging fleet of F-16 fighter jets with
new, American-made F-35 fighters, a major cost that Israel hopes will be substantially born for [sic] by American taxpayers.

Those would be the same "American taxpayers" who are now being told that they have to suffer cuts in Medicare and Social Security because of budgetary constraints,
who are watching as the most basic social services (the hallmark of
being a developed country) are being rapidly abolished (from the 12th Grade to basic care for children, the infirm and elderly), and are burdened with a national debt so large that America’s bond ratings are being degraded by the minute.  Why should those same American taxpayers bear the enormous costs of Israel’s military purchases (as Israel enjoys booming economic growth)?  Especially if the issue is presented as cleanly and honestly as Scherer did here, and especially if Israel continues to extend its proverbial middle finger
to even the most basic U.S. requests that it cease activities that harm
American interests, how much longer can this absurdity be sustained? 

On a related note, a new Rasmussen Poll found that only 58% of Americans now view "Israel as an ally" — down from 70% just nine months ago.  The
same poll found that 49% of Americans believe Israel should
be "required" to stop building settlements, with only 22% disagreeing.
 That’s why the primary objective now of AIPAC and its bipartisan cast of Congressional servants is — as Scherer put it — "to pressure the Obama Administration to avoid airing disagreements publically [sic]."
 Indeed:  you can’t have the American people knowing anything about
the U.S./Israel relationship and the ways in which the interests of the
two countries diverge.  

Having these issues
discussed openly and having the American citizenry be informed might
shatter all sorts of vital myths, which is exactly what has happened
over the last month, which has, in turn, led to this change in public
opinion (that, along with the fact that the Israeli Government, by
being viewed as the opponent of Obama, has incurred the wrath of large
numbers of Democrats who are loyal to Obama and automatically dislike
any of his critics or opponents).  That’s why their overriding goal is
to hide all these differences behind a wall of secrecy — "the Administration, to the extent that it has disagreements with Israel on policy matters, should find way[s] to do so in private," demanded Democratic Rep. Steve Israel
— because an open examination of this "special relationship," how it
really functions, and the costs and benefits it entails, is what they
want most to avoid.  It’s common in a democracy for government
officials to openly air their differences with allies; why should this be any different?

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